A Salty Scheme

So this funny little item came across Chow’s Grinder that seemed so off the wall at first, but on a second thought, it seems it not only might work, but sort of already does: Apparently public councils in Britain have hit upon a scheme to reduce sodium intake in the public: cut the number of holes in salt shakers from 17 to five. From the Daily Mail:

Research has suggested that slashing the holes from the traditional 17 to five could cut the amount people sprinkle on their food by more than half.

And so at least six councils have ordered five-hole shakers – at taxpayers’ expense – and begun giving them away to chip shops and takeaways in their areas.

Leading the way has been Gateshead Council, which spent 15 days researching the subject of salty takeaways before declaring the new five-hole cellars the solution.

Officers collected information from businesses, obtained samples of fish and chips, measured salt content and ‘carried out experiments to determine how the problem of excessive salt being dispensed could be overcome by design’.

They decided that the five-hole pots would reduce the amount of salt being used by more than 60 per cent yet give a ‘visually acceptable sprinkling’ that would satisfy the customer.

Naturally, commenters on the Daily Mail site have already found a way around the reduction in hole number, and are communicating this in less-than-polite terms:

I’ll let these brain dead morons into a secret. If it ain’t salty enough, just shake for longer and add more. P.S. Where’s the firing squad?

See, but commenter John Lee is kind of over-simplifying there, and here’s how we know: We use a course Kosher salt in our house, and it has a hell of a time getting through the holes in the salt shaker. You can get enough out, but if you wanted to over-salt something, you’d almost certainly get an arm cramp before you started retaining water.

So yes, Lee is technically right, but take it from us, reducing salt speed most definitely does reduce salt amount, especially for those who don’t want to spend five minutes in a restaurant flailing a salt shaker around.

As for whether it’s any of the British government’s business how much salt its citizens are eating, well, we’ll leave that to the Brits to decide.

A British A-Salt on Bad Eating Habits [Grinder]
Now health and safety cut number of holes in chip shop salt shakers [Daily Mail]

[Photo: Salt Shaker via L. Marie/flickr

A Salty Scheme